Nearly five days after The Smell’s sold out show with Junkie and Beach Goons, I’m sitting in a Vegas hotel room trying to encapsulate the whole thing. The bands appealed to everyone there, despite the diversity in their music, and even had people outside trying to sneak in because it sold out so early in advance.

    Junkie, the surf punk trio from San Antonio, Texas, delivered one of the most crowd-pleasing performances I’ve seen in a long time. With their feel-good, catchy guitar and bright vocals, Junkie had everyone wanting to take part in the fun; even the people working the event were completely captivated. They did songs off of almost all of their releases, from favorites like “Yr Thoughts Yr Plots” and “Curse” from their EP Feliz to tracks like “In My Head” and “Always Bummed Always In Love” from their albums Stupid Feels and W/E. The tracks usually start off with with rhythmic guitar lines and simple, soft lyrics that lead into a faster, more punk style chorus. The songs are unique in the fact that you can dance however you want to them, and still blend in with the crowd - it’s not one of those things where if you aren’t shoving people in the mosh pit you have to stand in the back. People were slow dancing, jumping, crowd-surfing, and pitting, all at the same time. The floor was covered in sweat, and the volume was at an all-time high, but no one seemed to mind. Junkie did an excellent job at filling the venue with feelings of lightheartedness and enthusiasm.

      Beach Goons were headlining the show; the garage punk trio from San Diego is notorious for bringing their die-hard fans with them wherever they go. While I was working the merch table, I met two people who had driven from San Diego to downtown Los Angeles just to hear their set. With their combination of gritty guitar and warm melodies, Beach Goons are what every DIY band aspires to be. They did a vast selection of songs, ranging from the classics, such as “Muffed” and “Choker” from their most well-known album, Boisad, and their earliest EP release, Beach Freeks, to harder, more punk-ridden songs like “Cigarette” from their album, Summer Bummer. People were diving off the stage, one after another, as if their lives depended on it. Everyone was dripping wet and the pit smelled of a combination of cigarettes and sweat. It was one of the loudest sets I’ve ever encountered, and I didn’t even mind. I didn’t really notice either, until the next day when my ears were still pounding. Beach Goons closed out the show with a cover of “Pork and Beans” by Weezer, and I’ve never seen so many people get that ecstatic at one time - the entire place was screaming at the top of their lungs.

   Once my friends and I got out of the show, we couldn’t even feel our feet, and the fresh air outside made us realize how hot it actually was. Beach Goons and Junkie are masterminds at bringing energy-packed songs to any audience, and I hope they do a show together again in the near future.

photos by KATIE WHIPP